Signing day recap: Latest on top 2023 football recruits

ByESPN staff ESPN logo
Thursday, December 22, 2022

National signing day is here, with college football's early signing period kicking off Wednesday and lasting through Friday. High school recruits are able to sign their national letters of intent to lock them into the colleges of their choice.

The buildup to the start of the early signing period saw two five-star recruits in the 2023 ESPN 300 flip their commitments. QuarterbackDante Moorediscarded Oregon in favor of UCLAon Monday, while offensive tackleKadyn Proctorspurned Iowa for Alabamaon Tuesday.

Day 1 of the early signing period brought chaos, from Alabama landing two five-star defenders from the same high school to a five-star safety decommitting from Notre Dame and instead signing with Oregon. The Ducks made a massive leap up the rankings, while other teams, in turn, plummeted. Meanwhile, Deion Sanders and Colorado jumped into the top 50 recruiting rankings.

This is the sixth year in which the NCAA has held anearly signing period for college football recruits, and it has become the dominant session, with most schools securing the majority of their class during this stretch. But recruiting is far from over; if a prospect doesn't sign a national letter of intent this week, the next national signing day for this cycle begins Feb. 1, 2023.

We tracked the latest news, analysis, class rankings movement and more throughout Wednesday.

Oklahoma gets five-star safety flip

Safety Petyon Bowen, the No. 14 overall recruit in the ESPN 300 and No. 2 safety recruit in the nation, flipped his commitment from Oregon to Oklahoma on Thursday. The flip comes just a day after Bowen, who's from Denton, Texas, flipped his Notre Dame commitment to Oregon.

Where the class rankings stand

Oregon started the day ranked 14th, but the Ducks have been incredibly active, flipping five-star safety Peyton Bowen from Notre Dame and four-star quarterback Austin Novosad from Baylor, among others, skyrocketing all the way into the top five.

WhileAlabamastrengthened its hold on the No. 1 spot, SEC foesTexas A&M, Mississippi State and Auburnalso climbed the rankings. View the full top 75 here.

Lane train

Maryland flipped four-star edge rusherNeeo Averyfrom Ole Miss earlier Wednesday. Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin had something to say about it, of course, replying to a tweet from Terps running backs coachElijah Brooks:

Deion Sanders' first signing day at Colorado

Sanders' first recruiting class atColoradoincludes two 2023 ESPN 300 recruits, the Buffaloes' first ESPN 300 signees since 2020, but it was a commitment from a transfer quarterback that was the biggest news of Sanders' day. His son,Shedeur Sanders, officially announced Wednesday his move to follow his father to Colorado. Read the full story.

Oregon lands RB flip

Four-star RB Jayden Limar (Lake Stevens, Washington) flipped his commitment from Notre Dame to Oregon. He had previously committed to Notre Dame in May.

The best recruits still available

Most of the ESPN 300 have already committed, but there are still several top recruits available. Here are the best players still available.

1. Desmond Ricks, CB (No. 17)

2. Nyckoles Harbor, ATH (No. 35)

3. Duce Robinson, TE-H (No. 36)

4. Rodrick Pleasant, CB (No. 99)

5. Walker Lyons, TE-Y (No. 118)

6. Mikal Harrison-Pilot, ATH (No. 125)

7. Cameron Lenhardt, DE (No. 144)

8. Ethan Nation, CB (No. 169)

9. Andrew Harris, ILB (No. 199)

10. Jelani McDonald, ATH (No. 237)

Arizona gets a four-star flip

Four-star athleteCarlos Wilson (Sacramento, California/Inderkum) flipped his commitment from Utah to Arizona. He primarily played wide receiver in high school but can play both sides of the ball.

Michigan adds four-star cornerback to class

Four-star cornerback Jyaire Hill has committed to Michigan. The No. 239 recruit becomes the Wolverines' sixth ESPN 300 commit in the class. Hill had offers from Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Illinois and Washington.

Texaslands 12th ESPN 300 commit

Tausili Akana has committed to the Longhorns. The Lehi, Utah, product is ranked No. 113 in the ESPN 300 and is the No. 9 outside linebacker overall. Akana received offers from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Louisville and Alabama, among others.

Georgia adds five-star DE

Damon Wilson signed with Georgia on Wednesday. The defensive end is ranked No. 31 in the ESPN 300 and is the third overall at his position. He had 82 total tackles and eight sacks this season for Venice High School in Florida. He had offers from Alabama and Ohio State, among several others.

Washington flips CB

Caleb Presley, a cornerback out of Seattle, flipped his commitment from Oregon to Washington. He is the No. 221 recruit in the ESPN 300 and held offers from Alabama, Michigan and USC, among others.

Miami lands CB

Damari Brown, the No. 112 recruit in the ESPN 300, signed with Miami. The cornerback out of Plantation, Florida, had offers from several high-profile schools, including Alabama, Clemson and Michigan.His older brother, CB Davonte Brown, recently announced his transfer from UCF to Miami.

Alabama adds two five-star teammates

Linebacker Jaquavious Russaw -- the No. 7 recruit in the ESPN 300 -- and teammate James Smith -- a defensive lineman who is the No. 11 recruit in the ESPN 300 -- have committed to Alabama. The Crimson Tide have 20 ESPN 300 recruits in the class.

Texas A&M lands four-star wide receiver

Micah Tease, the No. 256 recruit in the ESPN 300, has committed to Texas A&M. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, product decommitted from Arkansas on Dec. 19.

The Aggies now have eight ESPN 300 commits.

Maryland adds four-star defensive end

Four-star defensive end Neeo Avery, who is No. 174 in the ESPN 300, is staying in his home state. A product of Olney, Maryland, he signed to play with the Terrapins after decommitting from Ole Miss.

Who's winning (and who isn't) on signing day?

How can a team that lost a five-star quarterback commit be considered a signing day winner? How can a team that currently is in the top 10 (and leads its conference) not be? We analyze the teams that are crushing the early signing period and those that aren't.Read our analysis here.

Deion Sanders adds wideout to Colorado's roster

ESPN 300 wide receiverAdam Hopkinsis joining Sanders and the Buffaloes. Hopkins, out of Georgia, is the second ESPN 300 commit in Colorado's class so far. He had committed to Auburn in the fall but decommitted earlier this month.

Auburn flips CB

ESPN 300 cornerback Kayin Lee flipped his commitment from Ohio State to Auburn on Wednesday. Lee is the the No. 184 recruit overall and held offers from several high-profile schools, including Oregon, Notre Dame and Georgia.

Oregon is on a roll

A good day for the Ducks got even better with the additions of defensive endMatayo Uiagalelei, the No. 65 prospect in the ESPN 300, and cornerbackDaylen Austin, the No. 142 prospect.

Uiagalelei isthe brother of former Clemson quarterback DJUiagalelei, who is in the transfer portal. Austin was previously committed to LSU.Oregon flipped five-star safety Peyton Bowen earlier in the day. It now has 13 ESPN 300 recruits and is moving up the class rankings.

Big get for Mississippi State

The Bulldogs landed ESPN 300 recruit Isaac Smith, who is ranked 107th overall and is the No. 9 safety. Smith is their second ESPN 300 commitment after quarterbackChris Parson.

Auburn closing strong with big addition

The Tigers flipped ESPN 300 defensive end Keldric Faulk from Florida State. New coach Hugh Freeze has four ESPN 300 commits.

Buckeyes add to 2023 haul

ESPN 300 defensive end Joshua Mickens committed to Ohio State on Wednesday. Mickens gives the Buckeyes 13 ESPN 300 commits and 16 four-star recruits in the class.

Another big flip for Oregon

Five-star safety Peyton Bowen announced he is flipping his commitment from Notre Dame to Oregon. The No. 15 overall recruit in the ESPN 300 is a huge get for the Ducks.

Nebraska is reeling in top prospects

ESPN 300 athlete Malachi Coleman has committed to Nebraska. He's the second ESPN 300 commit for Matt Rhule and his staff.

No. 1 recruit officially headed to USC

It's not a surprise that quarterback Malachi Nelson, the top-ranked recruit in the country, is headed to USC, but the Trojans made it official with style:

Deion signs first big recruit at Colorado

Four-star Dylan Edwards signed to Colorado, giving coach Deion Sanders his first big name this recruiting cycle. The running back out of Kansas is ranked No. 156 in the ESPN 300 .

Michigan lands top-100 WR

Michigan has won on the field by reaching the College Football Playoff for the second straight season. The Wolverines are winning in the transfer portal by landing several impact contributors for next year. And they are winning on the recruiting trail as well.

Coach Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines landed Karmello English, a wide receiver ranked No. 82 in the ESPN 300, on Wednesday. Michigan entered the day ranked No. 21 in the class rankings.

UCF adds flip from Florida

ESPN 300 defensive end Isaiah Nixon announced he won't be a Florida Gator after all, but he's not going far as he flipped to UCF.

Still committed ... but not signed yet

Despite holding a commitment to Miami, five-star cornerback Cormani McClain will not sign his national letter of intent on Wednesday, according to his mother, Tikisha White. The No. 1-ranked corner has been committed to the Hurricanes since June, and while he won't sign on Wednesday, there is no update as to whether he will sign in this early period or wait until February.

Arch Manning, nation's No. 2 recruit, officially signs with Texas

Manning -- nephew of Eli and Peyton Manning, grandson of Archie Manning, and son of former Ole Miss wide receiver Cooper Manning -- is officially a Longhorn. He committed to Texas in June.

Manning is one of 11 ESPN 300 commits for Texas, which has the No. 7-ranked class in the country. Manning was a four-year starter at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, throwing for 8,599 yards and 115 touchdowns with 20 interceptions while rushing for 1,155 yards and 25 scores. He broke Eli's school record for school passing yards (7,268) and Peyton's for TDs (93).

Utah State lands ESPN 300 recruit

Four star OT Taliafi Taala, ranked No. 203 in the ESPN 300, is staying local as he committed to the Aggies.

Georgia pushing for No. 1 class

Not only is Georgia seeking its seventh consecutive top-three class but the Bulldogs, who enter signing day at No. 2, trailing only Alabama, are aiming for the top spot.

On Wednesday, Kirby Smart's loaded defense got stronger with the addition of ESPN 300 cornerback Daniel Harris, who is ranked No. 157 overall.

Oregon flips a top QB recruit

Two days after the Ducks lost a pledge from No. 3 prospect Dante Moore, who is headed to UCLA, they flipped an ESPN 300 quarterback of their own, landing Austin Novosad, a four-star signal-caller who had previously been committed to Baylor.

Novosad is Oregon's 10th ESPN 300 commit for the 2023 class.

Announcements to watch: Today's schedule

Our "College Football Live: Signing Day Special" will air from 2-5 p.m. ET on ESPN2, featuring analysis from our insiders and scouts, as well as announcements from some of the top recruits in the country. Here's who will be announcing their commitments later today:

Longhorn Network kicks off signing day coverage with a "Texas Football National Signing Day" special from 8-10:30 a.m. ET.

SEC Network will air hourly updates beginning at 9 a.m. ET and host a three-hour "SEC Now: Signing Day Special" at noon.

ACC Network will host "ACC Huddle: Signing Day Special" from 3-6:30 p.m.

Schools with clever announcements

Clemson, Ole Miss and Syracuse were among the teams that took different routes in announcing the players they signed.

Two five-star recruits make seismic flips

Right before the early signing period, two top-10 recruits decided to flip their commitments. On Monday, quarterback Dante Moore, ranked No. 3 in the class, decommitted from Oregon and announced his commitment toUCLA.

The next day, offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor, the No. 10 recruit overall, flipped from in-state Iowa to join Alabama.

What will happen Wednesday?

Who are the best prospects this cycle?

Each recruiting cycle, the best recruits in the country are ranked in the ESPN 300. Entering signing day, 270 of the top 300 prospects this cycle are committed.including nine of the top 10 recruits.

The top 10 goes as follows:

  1. Malachi Nelson, QB (USC)
  2. Arch Manning, QB (Texas)
  3. Dante Moore, QB (UCLA)
  4. Cormani McClain, CB (Miami)
  5. Francis Mauigoa, OT (Miami)
  6. Zachariah Branch, WR (USC)
  7. Jaquavious Russaw, OLB (uncommitted)
  8. Jackson Arnold, QB (Oklahoma)
  9. Peter Woods, DT (Clemson)
  10. Kadyn Proctor, OT (Alabama)

See the full ESPN 300 rankings here

Breaking down the 2023 recruiting cycle

We broke down the 2023 recruiting cycle in many different ways. We analyzed the strengths of the recruits who are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 at each position.

Craig Haubert and Tom Luginbill also went pick-by-pick in trying to draft the best all-22 team of 2023 recruits. See who got picked and vote which team is better.

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